Ancient Egypt

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Survey of Ancient Egyptian culture with an emphasis on art and architecture

Transcript of Ancient Egypt

  • 1.Ancient Egyptian Art ca. 3500 BCE-330 BCE

2. Ancient Egyptian Art Map Ancient Egypt Themes: Like Mesopotamia, Egypt is also a river valley civilization The Nile is the absolute basis for Egyptian civilization: transit/communication, religion, and philosophy Flows 4,000 miles from central Africa, North to Mediterranean Carries deceased to afterlife Instrumental in developing calendar The Nile River provides the natural conditions for this wealthy ancient people Flooding brings nutrients for farming Need develops to work together for agricultural planning 3. Ancient Egypt Dates and Places: 3500-1000BCE Nile River Valley Great Pyramids, ca. 2551-2528BCE. (Old Kingdom). People: Divine rulers Agriculture Polytheism Hieroglyphic writing system Interdependent political and religious systems 4. Ancient Egypt Themes: Gods (polytheistic) Rulers (Divine Kingship) Life and death Offerings Forms: Stone and mud brick construction Natural and conceptual treatments of figures Registers of space Hierarchy of scale Canon of Proportions Thutmose, Nefertiti, ca. 1353- 1335 BCE (Amarna period). Painted limestone, 1 8 high. Neues Museum Berlin. 5. Ancient Egypt Ramesses II, Herakleopolis (Temple of Harsaphes), New Kingdom, Egypt, c. 1250 B.C.E. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology People: The king or pharaoh (translates as great house) used when describing royal palace Pharaoh is apex of society, s/he is Divine Ruler, benevolent protector of people Pharaoh both god and man, son of sun god Ra, earthly embodiment of Horus Gods make wishes known through Pharaoh Power extends to all sectors of society: foreign trade, all lands owned by Pharaoh, oversees all government, supervises construction projects, infrastructure, dispenses justice 6. Ancient Egypt Religion: Religion at center of Egyptian life influencing its art, architecture, literature, government, medicine, and astronomy Egyptians were polytheistic, believing in more than one god Gods manifested themselves in many ways, each associated with some aspect of natureanimals or element of nature: Nile, sun, earth, sky, or moon Universe alive with different divinities Chart of Egyptian gods 7. Ancient Egypt Another aspect of Egyptian religious belief was the belief in an afterlife Initially, only Pharaohs were understood to be immortal but this changes Egyptian painted sycamore fig wood sarcophagus and mummy for Neskhons. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty XXI, c. 990-940 BCE. 8. Ancient Egypt Preoccupation with afterlife leads to creation of ka statues Afterlife is experience by the ka or spirit that lives on once the corporeal body is dead Ka lives on in body or in special statues made to house the spirit, a piggy bank of sorts Ka statues placed throughout funeral complexes accompanied by all of earths necessities and pleasures deceased could want Belief in ka and afterlife explains decoration of tombs Khafre Seated, front view, from Giza, c. 2520-2494 BCE, Diorite, 5 ft. 6 in 9. Ancient Egypt To preserve the body for the afterlife Egyptians use the process of mummification Mummification was a 10 week process Various symbols were wrapped with the mummy, such as an image of Horus, heart scarabs and usually The Book of the Dead complete with spells to protect the mummy Food and drink was provided nothing that was enjoyed on earth was lacking These practices existed for thousands of years, even when ruled by the Greeks and Romans Diagram of the mummification process. 10. Ancient Egypt Books of the Dead were hidden within the wrappings on the bodies as cheat sheets to help the deceased along his/her journey to the afterlife Details from Judgment of Hunefer Before Osiris, illustration from the Book of the Dead, 19th Century, New Kingdom, 1285 BCE. Painted papyrus 11. Ancient Egypt Architecture in Ancient Egypt primarily funerary Tombs provide majority of our information about Egyptian civilization Pyramid complex of the Pharaoh Unis (ca.2378 - 2348 BCE) 12. Ancient Egypt Major periods of Egyptian history: Pre-Dynastic Period 4350-3150 BCE Early Dynastic Period 3100-2700 BCE Old Kingdom 2700-2150 BCE Middle Kingdom 2050-1785 BCE New Kingdom 1575-1085 BCE Amarna period-1370-1350 BCE 13. Example: Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt Divine ruler and gods Symbols of authority Hieroglyphs Hierarchy of scale Composite view Ceremonial and practical use: to prepare eye makeup Ancient Egypt: Early Dynastic Period Palette of King Narmer, ca. 3000- 2920BCE. Slate, 2 1 high. (Early Dynastic period). Egyptian Museum, Cairo. 14. Palette of King Narmer, ca. 3000- 2920BCE. Slate, 2 1 high. (Early Dynastic period). Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, from Iran, ca. 2254-2218BCE. Pink sandstone, 6 7 high. Louvre, Paris Similarities and differences of objects: Importance of primary figure indicated through hieratic scale and proximity to gods Differences Naram-sin more cohesive as narrative, bodies more 3D, Narmer more symbolic and hierarchical 15. Ancient Egyptian: Old Kingdom Example: Portrait of the Court Official Hesira (possibly first recorded doctor in history) Three of eleven wooden panels that originally lined the backs of wall niches in the mastaba tomb of Hesire Rare examples of high execution of hieroglyphs on wood bas relief and have some of the oldest forms of the Egyptian language hieroglyphs Egyptian Canon of Proportions Panel of Hesire, from the mastaba tomb of Hesire Saqqara, c. 2675-2625 BCE. Wood, 45 high. Egyptian Museum, Cairo 16. Ancient Egyptian: Old Kingdom Egyptian Canon of Proportions Conceptual representation of body Body shown as it is understood, each part shown from its most distinguished view, no foreshortening needed Head in profile, eyes frontal, torso frontal, waist down profile All parts regularized into canon of proportions, no individualization Width of fist standard unit of measurement Each body 18x width of fist Canon reflects Egyptian concern for permanence and consistency Egyptian canon of proportions 17. Egypt: Early Dynastic Period Imhotep, Stepped Pyramid and mortuary precinct of Djoser, 2630- 2611 BCE (Early Dynastic period). Polished white limestone, approximately 200 high. Example: Funerary precinct of numerous palaces, courtyards, and stone pyramid surrounded by 35 high wall Oldest stone structure in Egypt Burial pyramid and temples Pyramid based on mastaba Symbol of kings godlike power First named artist in recorded history 18. Nanna ziggurat at Ur, modern day Iraq, ca. 2100 BCE. Imhotep, Stepped Pyramid and mortuary precinct of Djoser, 2630-2611 BCE (Early Dynastic period). Polished white limestone, approximately 200 high. Superficially, Djosers tomb and Nanna ziggurat may resemble one another but each serves completely different functions, platform for meeting place between heaven and earth versus funerary complex 19. Egypt: Early Dynastic Period Imhotep, Stepped Pyramid and mortuary precinct of Djoser, 2630-2611BCE. Polished white limestone, approximately 200 high. (Early Dynastic period) Example: Protection of mummified king and possessions Oriented toward points of compass Symbolizes kings power Enlarged twice before final shape First grandiose royal tomb 20. Ancient Egypt: Early Dynastic Period Additional buildings in complex served as recreational buildings for the ka Mastabas began as simple constructions and grew to become more complicated in design including many underground passages, rooms, and false passages to protect the kings ka many underground passages, rooms, and false passages to protect the kings ka Imhotep, Diagram Stepped Pyramid and mortuary precinct of Djoser, 2630- 2611BCE. (Early Dynastic period) 21. Ancient Egypt: Old Kingdom Example: Ti court officer in charge of protecting Egyptians from hippos, violent animals that ate crops, also believed to be in league with Seth, god of darkness Funerary decoration Use of hieratic scale Composite presentation of body Self-promotion Use of symbolism Naturalism of animals and servants Ti Watching Hippo Hunt, from the mastaba of Ti, Saqqara, Egypt 5th Dynasty. Painted relief on limestone, 4 high. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology 22. Ancient Egypt: Old Kingdom Hunting multivalent activity used to demonstrate ability to protect community, not unlike Ashurnasirpal and Ashurbanipal Ti Watching Hippo Hunt, from the mastaba of Ti, Saqqara, Egypt 5th Dynasty. Painted relief on limestone, 4 high. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology King Ashurnasirpal II killing lions, from Royal Palace of King Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud, c. 883- 859 BCE. Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II (Room B, Panel 19) Alabaster relief, 33 x 8 4. British Museum, London. 23. Ancient Egypt: Old Kingdom Ka-Aper, called Sheikh el-Beled" wood, 5th Dynasty, life-size, ca.2460 BCE. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Example: Ka-Aper (high priest) and unknown scribe amongst other officials with burial sites at Saqqara Traditional rigid stance Member of royal court Use of wood and limestone for statues of less important people Less idealized but consistent with conventions associated with social status 24. Ancient Egypt: Old Kingdom Seated Scribe, from Saqqara, c.2551-2528 BCE. Painted limestone with rock crystal, magnesite, and copper/arsenic inlay for the eyes and wood for the nipples, 21" in height. Muse du Louvre, Paris. Example: Member of royal court Use of wood and limestone for statues of less important people Less idealized but consistent with conventions associated with social position Naturalism of face contrast to detailed body Art as indicator 25. Ancient Egypt: Old Kingdom Great Pyramids, ca. 2520- 2494BCE, Giza, Egypt (Old Kingdom) Example: Funerary precinct with burial pyramids and temples Pyramid symbol of god Ra, the sun god Testifies to kings power Masonry construction with internal chamber